Talks resume today in tug and barge strike

by Canadian Shipper

A strike by some 800 B.C. tug and barge operators in the Canadian Merchant Service Guild, may lead to layoffs in the forest industry that could begin later this week.
Pulp mills can’t operate without wood chips, which are barged in, and the stike couldn’t have come at a worse time for the pulp industry, which just started making money again, reports the CBC.

Meanwhile, the Port of Vancouver says it remains open for business with cargo continuing to move with minimal delays in the inner harbour, following the strike action which began Friday April 16.

According to Port of Vancouver spokesman Jon Hicke, mediated talks between the two parties adjourned last night at 21:30 and are scheduled to resume again today, April 21, at 14:00. The Vancouver Port Authority is urging both sides to reach a settlement.Hicke says goods worth about C$100 million (USD $74.3 million) a day pass through Vancouver’s port, including coal, wheat, wood products, potash and finished goods.Port officials estimate the strike is costing British Columbia up to $100 million a day, affecting everything from cruise ships to container traffic.Labour Minister Claudette Bradshaw named Bill Lewis as mediator four days after 800 members of the Canadian Merchant Service Guild walked off the job, demanding higher wages and improved working conditions. “I urge both parties to make all reasonable efforts to conclude a collective agreement without delay,” Bradshaw said in a statement announcing the appointment of Lewis. The Financial Post, meanwhile, reports that operations at Deltaport, near the U.S. border, have been virtually halted with no ships coming in and shipments of container cargo being turned away.
Tug and barge companies say they haven’t ruled out going to court to seek an injunction if the mediation fails.

Have your say

We won't publish or share your data